University of Southern California

Graduate Students

Monica Pelayo

Contact Information


Biographical Sketch

Monica Pelayo is a 20th century Americanist whose research primarily deals with issues of race, immigration, public history, and cultural hegemony. Her major project will assess how the narrative of “a nation of immigrants” circulated during and after the Cold War. She will specifically examine how public history institutions such as the Smithsonian, Ellis Island, and Angel Island reproduced this narrative, and how it changed overtime. Before entering graduate school, she traveled throughout Southern California and Oregon collecting oral histories and artifacts for the Bracero Oral History Project. She, then, interned at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, helping the curatorial team with the companion traveling exhibit, “Bittersweet Harvest.” Monica welcomes any questions from people interested in her research or those considering graduate school at USC.


  • BA Brown University, 05/2008
  • M.A. History, University of Southern California, 05/2011


Research Specialties

  • 20th Century U.S. History, Race and Public History, Immigration, Public Scholarship, and Civic Engagement